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Math will save your life (from awoken, prehistoric beasts): “Tasmanian Devils”

February 19, 2013

posterWhen Syfy informs you that their next offering includes, 1) Danica McKellar, 2) Apolo Ohno, and 3) CGI Tasmanian Devils, how can you answer except, “Oh yes….Yes!” I mean, it’s like Christmas decided to make an encore at the end of January and, instead of bringing us a second helping of good-tidings and cheer, instead plops a healthy helping of hawt babes, douchebags getting pwned by CGI beasties, and atrocious production values. I mean, I don’t know what brings you joy—maybe your kids or blacking out drunk or some combination of the two—but this movie pretty much hit my bad-movie-lovers G-spot.

Okay, so the movie starts with a helicopter full of BASE jumpers flying into the rolling mountains of, uh, Tasmania. Which has mountains now, I guess. No matter. The team consists of a bunch of Mountain Dew-slamming douchetards—one of whom is Apolo Ohno—and Rekha Sharma, who you may remember from Battlestar Galactica (she played President Roslin’s sexy/rumpled Press Assistant who later turned out to be a Cylon, and a bit of a bitch). So the first guy to Base-out is Apollo. He plummets into a cavern where he is impaled on a stalagmite. Woo-hoo! It’s like the filmmakers wanted to give a gift to everyone who watched the 2006 winter Olympics.

Just walk it off, bro...

Just walk it off, bro…

Now, give Apolo this much: he takes a stalagmite-impaling like a champ, in that while he had a freaking column of sediment the diameter of a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew rammed through his chest, he is still alert enough to notice the ominous cave-paintings around him and determine that, yeah, he’s in some trouble. A few moments later, some huge, mutant Tasmanian Devils emerge from the shadows and graphically tear him apart. Guess they watched those Olympics, too.

All right, so the chopper lands and everyone freaks out because, well, fuck, look what happened to Apolo. Just then a team of Park Rangers show up, including Danica McKellar as an American biologist working with them on her thesis. You can totally tell she’s a probie, since A) her teammates don’t much respect her, and B) She’s the only one issued a push-up bra (in fairness, however, she’s the only who really should be wearing a push-up bra, so we’re all winners here).

Nothing not good about this shot. Carry on..

Nothing not good about this shot. Carry on..

Well, the rangers want to arrest the group for, uh, violating their airspace, I guess. Unfortunately, before they can, the Tasmanian Devils attacks them and basically wipe them all out (aw…. ) except for Danica (yay!) Danica and the rest of the group then try and make their way through the, uh, coniferous forests of Tasmania to get to the safety of a research station with a radio, which they can use to call in an airstrike or something.

Along the way they bicker and clash, as two of them want to make for the chopper, instead, but Danica warns them that the Devils are attracted to loud noises, and the chopper’s engines will lead them to them. They ignore her and make it to the choppers, only for one of the Devils to pull a Jaws 2 on them and leap into the air to the attack the chopper.

Holy shit, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Just point me at the helicopter...

Just point me at the helicopter…

So the rest of the movie has the group fending off Tasmanian Devil attacks, while their numbers get whittled down. Every so often they take one of the Devils with them (there’s only six), but in the end, it’s Danica and the least douchebaggiest of the group against the sole surviving super-mega-banzai Tasmanian Devil. This is kind of a waste of Rekha (who gets torn in half in front of her husband, because the Devils are dicks that way), who could stand to be poured into a push-up bra herself. I mean, c’mon Syfy, it’s not like you have standards.

Anyway, when we last caught up with Danica McKellar I ascertained that, yes, she was in fact old enough to lust after—regardless of the fact she still resides in most of our minds as 13 year-old Winnie Cooper. But bonus points for casting her as a scientist, since she’s a real-life math wiz. So, yeah, basically for maybe the first time in movie history, it’s not a stretch to have a sexy-as-hell scientist character. Score one for verisimilitude.

Math geeks are hawt.

Math geeks are hawt.

Unfortunately, Syfy fails to capitalize on this fact by, say, making some math in-jokes like, “Well, that sure squared his root!” or “Hey, Pythagoras! Theorize this! (Boom!)” Okay, I don’t know anything about math, but you see where I’m going here.Likewise, the movie doesn’t have Danica solve some quadratic equations or anything while in a bikini—again, that just seems like a waste of all the assets at their disposal.

Yeah, you solve for X, you naughty girl.

Yeah, you solve for X, you naughty girl.

A bigger problem are the Devils themselves, which look like they were created with Microsoft Paint and picture of a burnt Furby, then poorly rotoscoped into the movie. It’s not just that they don’t look real, but that the filmmakers don’t seem to have ever seen a real Tasmanian Devil. The extent of their knowledge on the subject seems to be that they don’t look like the Looney Tunes character. Actually, I’m not 100% sure the movie makers have ever seen an actual animal for that matter.

And that’s about it for Tasmanian Devils. You got a hawt scientist and ridiculous monsters. Really, what more could you ask for from Syfy?

Some kid saw "ET" in 1982 and grew up to make this movie...

Some kid saw “ET” in 1982 and grew up to make this movie…

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